MAKING RENT STRIKES COOL
Campaigns within the confines of University Accommodation have to be built within a year. Rent strikers will mostly be freshers who know nothing about Cut the Rent campaigns or rent market prices. Given they can’t all be politicised in that time, rent strikes must become the cool thing for freshers to do at your university -- this will give you the numbers necessary to win. Trying to promote self image and being edgy is not just a sound political strategy, it’s a vital goal. Here are some hot takes on how to make your campaign cool af:
Graphics: Design of leaflets, stickers, social media pages, events and banners should all be as stylised as possible. If you don’t have the time to design your own, you can reappropriate from other Cut The Rent groups. UCL and Bristol Cut The Rent have designed stuff for their campaigns which can be changed easily, some of which can be found here.
Banners: There’s an easy cheat way of giving your banners the right look. All you need is banner material (cloth), duct tape and some spray paint. First write the message you want on the banner with the duct tape. Then spray paint the rest of the banner with the tape still on and wait for it to dry. After removing the tape, you’re set!
Smoke grenades: Alongside banners, it’s good to take pyro to demos. It’s best to get smoke grenades as they work far better during the day then flares which work better at night. These can be picked up from most airsoft shops or online, and allow you to take really good campaign photos which you can later use on social media and leaflets.
Memes: Memes have obviously had a large role in both shaping and expressing young people's political narrative as well as expressing university campus humour. The small amount of time needed plus the role meme culture plays for people in university accommodation can help recruit even more people. See below for examples from UCL and Aberdeen Cut The Rent.
Strike nites: Parties at bars or in university halls are a simple way to build solidarity amongst strikers beyond the usual weekly meetings or demos. Bristol Cut the Rent’s recent fundraiser party secured money for campaign materials, whilst reaffirming the coolness of r e n t s t r i k e s. If you have a sympathetic SU, you can sort out a tab at your SU bar or do what UCL Cut the Rent did - grab three hundred cans of Red Stripe and claim it off the union.
Edgy demos: UCL are again perhaps the best example of this - burning an effigy of their vice-provost featured in Vice and other publications - providing vital campaign coverage to spur on more freshers to strike, and inspired school leavers to join their local CTR group when they got to uni.